laurel sphinx

(Sphinx kalmiae)

laurel sphinx
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  Hodges #

7809

 
 
Conservation Status
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Laurel sphinx is a common, large, small-eyed sphinx moth. It occurs in the United States east of the Great Plains and in adjacent Canadian provinces.

Adults are 19 16 to 23 16 (40 to 55 mm) long and have a wingspan of 3 to 4 (75 to 103 mm). The abdomen is long tapered.

The forewing is long, pointed, and mostly light yellowish-brown. There is a broad dark brown to black patch along the inner margin and dark brown scales on the veins. The patch extends onto the rear margin, where it narrows and disappears before reaching the wing tip, and is bordered by a thin but bold white subterminal line. The reniform spot, in the outer median area, is black and tiny. The hindwing is pale tan with two broad dark brown to black bands, one in the median area, one in the postmedial area.

The caterpillar is bluish-green or yellowish-green and up to 3 long. There are seven oblique stripes on each side of the body. They are each composed of a thin black line above, a thin white line in the middle, and a broader yellow line below. A long blue horn covered with minute black spines extends from the eighth abdominal segment. The breathing pores (spiracles) are orange. There are four leg-like structures (prolegs) on the abdomen. Each proleg has a shiny black band at the tip bordered by black crescents. There is a black line on the head bordered on each side by broader yellowish green areas. Mature caterpillars are found from June onward.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Total Length: 19 16 to 23 16 (40 to 55 mm)

Wingspan: 3 to 4 (75 to 103 mm)

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Forests and woodlands

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

One generation per year: Late May to early August

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

Adults are active at night and are attracted to lights. The forewings are held close to the body when at rest, giving the moth a slender appearance.

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

Pupa overwinter in the soil.

 
     
 

Larva Hosts

 
 

Leaves of mostly ash but also birch and lilac

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Flower nectar

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

21, 24, 27, 29, 30, 71, 75.

 
  9/22/2019      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)  
 

Suborder

Glossata  
 

Infraorder

Neolepidoptera  
  Parvorder Heteroneura  
  No Rank Ditrysia  
  No Rank Obtectomera  
 

Superfamily

Bombycoidea (hawk-moths)  
 

Family

Sphingidae (hawk moths, sphinx moths, and hornworms)  
 

Subfamily

Sphinginae (small-eyed sphinx moth)  
 

Tribe

Sphingini  
 

Genus

Sphinx  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

fawn sphinx

fawn sphinx moth

laurel sphinx

 
     
 

The common name laural sphinx is a misnomer arising from the mistaken belief that the species epithet kalmiae referred to the laural plant genus Kalmia. In fact, it refers to the botanist Pehr Kalm, after whom the insect was named.

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Reniform spot

A kidney-shaped spot or outline in the outer median area on the forewing of many moths.

 

Proleg

A fleshy structure on the abdomen of some insect larvae that functions as a leg, but lacks the five segments of a true insect leg.

 

Spiracle

A small opening on the surface of an insect through which the insect breathes.

 

 

 

 

 

       
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Alfredo Colon
       
  laurel sphinx    
       
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
   
       
       
       

 

Camera

     
Slideshows
   
  Laurel Sphinx moth - Hodges#7809 (Sphinx kalmiae)
Andree Reno Sanborn
 
  Laurel Sphinx moth - Hodges#7809 (Sphinx kalmiae)  
     

 

slideshow

       
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Other Videos
 
  Laurel Sphinx Caterpillar
bander87
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 13, 2015

Laurel Sphinx Caterpillar

   
       

 

Camcorder

         
Visitor Sightings
   

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Alfredo Colon
8/31/2018

Location: Woodbury, MN

laurel sphinx


     
 
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Created: 9/22/2019

Last Updated:

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